"Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans." (John Lennon)
There have been a few signs. Well hidden, coming and going unnoticed by doctors, my family and myself. But looking back, a series of sicknesses, markers in my blood and ambiguous feelings formed a clear path which pointed into one direction: Churg-Strauss-Syndrome, also referred to as Eosinophilic granulomatosis with polyangiitis or EGPA.
In my twenties I always felt tired, exhausted, without obvious reasons. At one point Asthma bronchiale and allergic rhinitis has been diagnosed. Luckily cortisone sprays saved my days for the time being and I could go on with a normal life as a mother and spouse.
I worked in a small pharmacy in my hometown. The team was great and interacting with clients all day felt good.
In my free time, I loved hiking, inline skating, and dancing. I felt strong and was seeking adventures in the mountains. My husband and I traveled with heavy backpacks and a tent for days in a row. We explored the countries of the north, traveled through the Yukon Territory, Iceland and Norway. Most of all we fell in love with the Scottish highlands and the Outer Hebrides, which we visited multiple times. My body was slim and enduring. I needed to be in motion. Always. Among my friends, I soon became known as the “lady fox”.
In 2009 a serious pneumonia struck me, but I recovered. In a rehab hospital at the sea I gained my strength again. Life was back to normal. Yet, times when I felt miserable with nasty coughs and antibiotics were coming and going.
In 2017 I went to the hospital all of a sudden. I felt pain in my belly. First, the doctors suspected acute appendicitis. But then they hesitated, and became doubtful. Finally, they refrained from actually performing a surgery at the last minute and prescribed antibiotics instead.
Since then, the times of sicknesses have become a regular pattern. I was coughing, my lungs were mucus-ridden. A series of urinary tract infections and inflammation of the sinuses made the use of antibiotics abundant. Another stay at a rehab hospital helped, but it did not yield that enduring result as eight years before.
End of 2017 I took my last vacation trip with serious hiking and outdoor activities in the wilderness of Romania. For 10 exciting days we hiked through the remote Fagaras mountains coming across hardly a soul.
I noticed a decline in my fitness. In 2018 and 2019 only smaller camping travels with promenades were possible.
Indeed, slowly, I became weaker. Talking and having focus was strenuous, running across the street was impossible. Even Sex was arduous and soon it became impossible. My body smelled like hell after the slightest exertion, even after taking a shower.
The sickness in my body waited. The shadow grew stronger. A nameless weariness poisoned my body. And at the end it persisted. Its time has now come.